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The sign of a good banana

By UCOL on Thursday, 29 November 2018

A photograph of UCOL Student Stuart McGechan

Food, art and bananas all feature in Stuart McGechan’s work history, up until recently he had worked as a chef for the last thirty years in New Zealand, Australia and Switzerland.


Swapping one creative field for another, Stuart signed up to UCOL to undertake the Bachelor of Design and Arts in Whanganui. After a year of hard toil this year in the final year of his degree, he now has work on display as part of the Tributaries Exhibition.

‘The sign of a good banana’ is the catchy tagline for Stuarts 100% New Zealand Banana Projects. “It wasn’t a random thought. I am in the process of moving to Northland and I discovered they are starting to develop small commercial crops of bananas. We have many varieties already growing in NZ and if we develop further we can import less and control the sprays used.’

“As part of the work I have undertaken I have created a brand, logo and associated marketing material for New Zealand Bananas.”

Coming to UCOL after so many years out in the workforce, the change from kitchen to classroom was a challenge for Stuart. “My early memories on starting at UCOL are of the other students and how they were supportive and all skilled in their own field and I learnt a lot through sharing.”

“I was also fortunate enough to receive a scholarship from UCOL in the first year which went against my course fees. I have always been interested in design and graphic layout and I had heard that UCOL had a good reputation in this space.”

With the year ending and the move to Northland imminent, what is next for Stuart? “I really enjoyed the opportunity to exhibit and see our cohort's work on display, but ultimately gaining a job in this field now is my main goal. I have worked very hard and I am very proud of what I have managed to achieve in both work produced and software knowledge.” 

You can view Stuart’s work and that of other students as part of the Tributaries Exhibition, with works exhibited on campus at UCOL, including at the Edith Gallery, Whanganui Community Art Centre, and at New Zealand Glassworks.